Mock Turtle SoupMore pictures
Every once in a while you get a bit lucky and get given an opportunity that is just too good to turn down, one that you know you need to ensure that you manage to attend come hell or high water. I know friends who have all tried and largely failed for days, weeks and months to book a table at The Fat Duck and after hearing about their trails and tribulations I made a decision that I wouldn’t put myself through the pain. And then I got a Twitter DM informing me that some friends of mine had managed to get a table and they needed some people to make up the numbers. EPIC WIN!!!
The day was booked off work and we headed out on a train to Maidenhead, hopped in a taxi arrived in Bray just before 12pm so started things off with a quick half in The Hinds Head and then on to the restaurant; a minutes walk down Bray “High Street” into what looked like an old town house and is now probably better known as the house in which Heston Blumenthal bends, shapes and plays with food and serves it up for a lucky few.
After a quick browse through the book like wine list we were quickly served our initial course of the 13 course tasting menu and were immersed into the kind if food that I had hoped to be served as the waiter got out the nitrous oxide to ‘poach’ a lime and green tea mousse. The front of house staff were a big part of the experience and this was not the last dish constructed at our table. Not happy with serving us with this light citrus tasting mousse we were also served up the delight of egg and bacon ice-cream as part of the not so full English breakfast – and one of the best dishes I’ve probably had containing parsnip cereal, the ice-cream and an amazing cup of tea that was half hot and cold and stayed that way even when drunk.
With each course there were ingredients, preparations and ideas that I couldn’t even imagine the tastes of. From the TV favourites such as The Sound of the Sea (edible sand and an iPod housed in shell), mock turtle soup being formed from a golden watch with soup from a teapot, whiskey wine gums and a selection of sweets such as edible playing cards, envelopes and plastic wrapping. When not having my mind blown with once in a lifetime dishes there were also classic combinations such as red cabbage gazpacho, eastern inspired roast foie-gras with cherry, anjou pigeon, taffety tart and cheese, lovely lovely cheese.
All dishes were incredible, well balanced creations with the exception of the licorice coated salmon which when put up against everything else was merely good opposed to amazing. All in all the 13 courses left us extremely full and the accompanying wine leaving us rather drunk. We left the restaurant a good 5 hours after first sitting down and considering this the final bill though probably the most expensive meal I will likely ever pay for didn’t feel all that bad if you think that a footy match or a gig may only last 90 minutes or so…
I’ve had great expectations ruin meals in the past when the reality turns out not to match what I have pictured in my head but on this occasion what was in Heston’s was more than anything I could ever imagine. I hope that with the imminent opening of his London restaurant his standards don’t slip up in Bray and it continues to be one of THE places to eat for years to come. If you can endure the booking process then get ready for the meal of a life time.Tweet